Marketing,  Strategy


Have you ever walked into a retail store, paid for an item only to be asked to share your contact details without an explanation whatsoever? How about receiving a call from a service provider’s account manager only when your business is about to expire?

Last one. Ever received a call from a customer care representative of a service provider looking to get your feedback from using their services but that same person has got no idea who you are.  

I love asking questions. In my many sessions, I’ve found it liberating for both myself and clients. Since you resumed at your office, have you bothered to think about that question? Why do we send emails every Monday mornings to a specific category of clients? What exactly is the purpose of the project and why were we drafted into this team?

Research has proven that companies sophisticated in their use of data grow a lot faster for instance. But a company gathering data for no specific purpose or without an end goal of enhancing the customer experience has lost the plot.

I would argue that every business that wants to stand the test of time has to be a purpose driven brand. What is a purpose brand by the way? According to the late great Prof. Clayton Christensen, “the brand of a product that is tightly associated with the job for which it is meant to be hired is a purpose brand.”

Lexus LF-1 Limitless 2020 - Excellent SUV! - YouTube
The new flagship Luxury crossover Lexus LF1-Limitless

The Lexus brand, a division of Toyota is a good example of a purpose brand. Buyers of the Lexus brand are promised a safe and comfortable transportation in a well-designed high-performance vehicle. An emotional value proposition is a promise of feeling pampered, luxurious, and affluent.

Think of Reckitt Benkiser’s Jik as well. The specially formulated household chemical compound is designed to leave clothes looking extra white and extra bright. The product was so popular customers used to say “jik it” like “google it.’’

To ensure you or your company are not just following a trend because everyone is doing it, or doing something but with a purposeless end result, there are a few things you need to consider.


Whether your brand already exists or you are just about to introduce a new product into the market, you need to identify the purpose of that brand or product. What specific task or circumstance is that brand addressing? When the purpose of a brand is clearly articulated, it will guide what the strategy should look like.

I wrote about circumstance marketing a while ago. If a shop into gadget develops its purpose as “bridging the gap between customers and latest technology”, it would take its customer’s database a lot more seriously. Sales associates would be trained to explain to new customers benefits of being in the database. Existing customers will receive timely information about new products and offerings will be personalised too.

Ferrari SF90 Stradale Exterior Photos | CarBuzz
The Ferari SF-90 Stradale

Another example is a retailer selling luxury time pieces like Patek Phillipe or Rolex. There’s something much more it’s offering customers. It’s selling status and exclusivity. And its strategies, marketing messages, concierge services should speak to that task. When Otedola went shopping with his daughters, he had something exclusive in mind. He didn’t go to Nissan, neither did he go to Mitsubishi. He went to the Italian car brand associated with exclusivity. When you determine the brand’s purpose and it actually gets the task done, customers will buy it, talk about it and that’s how brand equity gets built.

Femi Otedola Buys 3 Brand New Ferrari Cars For His 3 Daughters (Photos) –  JOEBLINKS BLOG
The Otedola girls showing off their exclusive fast toys


The problem with not taking core values seriously… You do not want to assemble a team and they’re asking, “what all the fuss about?’ or “I just need to get the results, isn’t that what matters?” Now getting results without paying attention to the values and goals that guide the brand strategy is skirting around a mountain edge. Do not turn a competitive sport to extreme sport. Core values should align with the purpose and be a guide.

Let me share an example.  A retail store has a very poor customer service. Majority of the ground staff focus largely on closing sales. The department tasked to address issues gets the step child and orphan attention. Because they usually stock the latest popular phone brands, regardless of how poor their customer resolution unit is, customers will keep coming back because the retail store stocks new phones. Retail stores like this are the ones that fall like a pack of cards when competition sets up shop close by with superior customer experience.

An organization with purpose and core values to guide it will not wait for competition to show up to start making changes or doing the right thing. If indeed the purpose is to “bridge the gap between customer and latest technology”, it would have paid attention to its customer resolution department in the first instance.  


What is required to deliver excellence? Consistent and repeatable training programs? Data driven digital technologies? If you have identified the purpose of your brand, company or product, and values that will guide the strategy, the next thing you want to do is identify the competencies needed to deliver excellence and the structure being put in place to support them.

With a clear purpose, your data gathering strategy should have a direction. Much more than just bombarding or clogging customers emails. Structure must be in place to integrate data on what consumers are doing with knowledge of why they’re doing it, which yields new insights into consumers’ needs and how to best meet them for instance.

I recently visited a retail store last month. I watched time and again how customers with issues got either neglected, delayed or attended to hurriedly like- “please leave me alone I’m here to sell not resolve problems.’’ I decided to escalate to the top management official. He didn’t take the call neither did he respond to my message till this day. I cannot emphasize the importance of committed leadership. It all rises and falls with leadership.

There’s so much we can pen down in an article. Other areas you want to look into is a culture that embraces innovation and marketing. The latter’s main focus is on the needs of the customers. That in essence is what marketing is all about.

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